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Heavy Chemical industry
In modern age, heavy chemicals are of overwhelming importance in the field of both agriculture and manufacturing industries. They are the original sources of about 500,000 different chemicals. Similarly, we cannot think of producing chemical fertilizers without sulphuric acid.
Among the common alkalis, Soda ash is largely used in glass industry and in making light chemicals. it is also used in the manufacture of caustic soda, pulp and paper, soap, textiles and in the fabrication of non-ferrous metals. Caustic soda is mostly used in the production of rayon, soap, chemicals, petroleum and paper. Chlorine is used as a bleach for textiles, in the production of dyestuffs and explosives, and in water purification and sewage disposal.
Sulphuric acid is unquestionably the greatest of all acids for its wide-scale uses in various manufacturing industries. The production and use of sulphuric acid is often regarded as the industrial barometer of a country. Sulphuric acid is largely used in fertilizer factories and in the production of light chemicals. it is also used in the production of petroleum, paints, rayon, iron and steel, coal products, explosives, and textiles.
Pattern of Localization : To understand the locational pattern of the heavy chemical plants one has to note the following special features of this industry.
1. In chemical industries, processes of production have been automated. The industry needs rather a small number of technically trained white-collar laborers mostly for supervision. These laborers are highly mobile.
2. The largest quantity of materials needed are water and air. These are ubiquities.
3. Power is essential, yet it is not needed in so large quantities as to singularly attract this industry to the sources of power.
4. In respect of heavy and other chemical industries, the end product of one unit becomes raw material of another unit. And so, there is a tendency of agglomeration of many chemical industries in a particular centre or area, usually, around the plants of heavy chemicals.
5. A certain chemical product, say, sulphuric acid, can be produced through different processes and by using different raw materials. Locational pattern of such chemical industries, through producing the same thing, may be different.
The foregoing points (Nos. 1 & 3) clearly indicate that the localization of this industry is oriented neither to labour nor to power. Naturally, it should be oriented either to raw material or to market.
Localization of heavy chemical industry largely depends upon the type of raw materials used, nature of products, their uses and markets. Raw materials of alkali group, i.e., soda ash, caustic soda and chlorine are common salt and limestone. These chemicals are produced in large scale requiring large quantity of raw materials. As raw materials., salt and limestone are nearly pure. Yet, they are too bulky and too cheap to be transported to market before production. Factories are therefore, located where salt and limestone are available. In other words, localization of plants producing common alkalis is oriented to raw materials.
The common raw material for sulphuric acid is native sulphur or pyrites Moreover, one tonne of native sulphur produces about three tonnes of sulphuric acid. The plants of sulphuric acid are localized in the markets, i.e., in the areas having agglomeration of consuming industries. In other words, the localization of acid producing plants is oriented to market.
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